Terry Gilliam‘s “The Zero Theorem,” which is the very first thing on our Best Films on 2014 We’ve Already Seen list, and which our own Oliver Lyttleton gave a pretty decent review in Venice, finally found a US distributor a couple of weeks ago and will hit American screens this summer. In the meantime it’s appearing in various parts of the world already, and was released in the UK last week.
To mark that release, Gilliam sat down with the British film magazine Total Film to talk through, or at least touch on, his entire (non-Python) career in 40 minutes of typical joviality, bullishness and curiosity. Among other things, he touches further on how he would have adapted “Watchmen,” which he damn-nearly did, and over which he and eventual director Zack Snyder have been squabbling of late; Gilliam correctly points out that Snyder’s film has trouble compressing the story properly, but also humbly concedes that he probably would have fucked it up too (though no doubt in a more interesting way).
He also recalls working with Heath Ledger on the actor’s very final film, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” which Ledger made concurrently with “The Dark Knight.” Contrary to press speculation, Gilliam says, Ledger was enormously enjoying playing the Joker and mentally very healthy, which makes his passing all the sadder. Interestingly, Gilliam sees Ledger’s Joker as reminiscent of Johnny Depp in Gilliam’s own “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” which, now that we think about it, is right on.
There are also scads of new clips, featurettes and pics from “The Zero Theorem,” elaborating on its typically metaphysical themes and eye-popping visuals, and introducing some of its key characters. For more, there’s also an Empire podcast with Gilliam, where he reveals he had met with Al Pacino ages ago for “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote“—and he later approached the actor for “The Zero Theorem” along with Jessica Biel.
“The Zero Theorem” opens this summer.